stating the obvious archives | about

Use It and Lose It
Apr 13, 2001 :: Michael Sippey

We can't say we were surprised by the demise of Kozmo, but we're definitely disappointed. We found Kozmo to be an incredibly useful and reliable service -- we'd use it to order an Odwalla orange juice around mid-morning before the next meeting, pick up the latest CD when we were too impatient to wait for the Amazon delivery (espeically when Kozmo had 'em on sale for $9.99) and rent the occasional DVD. But every time we hit the submit button, we knew that our days of Kozmo-induced sloth were surely numbered. After all, as everyone knew, there was no way in hell they were making any money on our transactions. (And we were the generous ones. We have one friend who ordered something ridiculously small, like a pack of gum, every hour on the hour for an entire day, just to see if they'd cut her off.) Once it became clear a few months ago that they were locked in the downward spiral, we actually upped our usage, solely to enjoy the convenience while we could.

Now that they're gone, it's just a little bit ironic to realize that our love of Kozmo contributed to its demise. We were money-losing customers, and by upping our order rate, we just helped accelerate their appearance on FuckedCompany. We're left with a curious sense of guilt, and find ourselves asking the hard, difficult questions, like "Oh, if we only hadn't ordered that Turkey and Havarti sandwich last week, would it have made a difference?"

But while founder Joseph Park is likely putting the finishing touches on his applications to business schools (remember the 60 minutes profile?), we're starting to rethink our Webvan purchases, and ask you to do the same. Whatever you do, don't click on those FREE HAM banners you're seeing all over Yahoo. Don't take them up on their online coupon and bonus offers. And if you must schedule a delivery, please make sure they'll already be in your neighborhood. Because even though we live less than a block from a Safeway, we need Webvan. Desperately. And we'd hate to see their trucks go the way of the Kozmo messengers.

(PS: those Kozmo messenger bags could be worth something someday. Anyone have a line on how to get ahold of one? Let us know...)



Other pieces about ecommerce: